The American Farm Bureau Federation says a Senate report just released highlights the need for Congress to intervene regarding the Waters of the U.S. rule. The report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee shows case studies that demonstrate reckless and unlawful action regarding enforcement of the Clean Water Act, according to American Farm Bureau. AFBF senior regulatory relations director Don Parrish says the report shows an effort by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to narrow exemptions under the Act.
“Exemptions for building stock ponds, plowing and even trying to interfere with farmers as they change from one type of crop to another. And really what this report shows, those kinds of problems are going to probably increase if this new rule takes effect.”
The new WOTUS rule is currently under a stay by the federal court system. In one case found in the report, the federal agencies regulated a puddle formed in a farm road, despite rhetoric by the agencies against regulating puddles.
“This basic farm road developed a puddle, a low spot, where tire ruts had formed when it was wet, and the Corps of Engineers came in and told the wetland consultant they had to map that as a wetland.”
Parrish says those examples found in the report show a clear need for Congress to step in.
“Clearly there’s a role for Congress here. And the role for Congress is not only to clarify some of the definitions of what constitutes navigable waters, but also clarify for the agencies that the normal farming exemptions are important.”
They’re important, and Parrish added they need to be specifically adhered to.